Smokies catcher Anthony Recker drove home four runs, including a three-run blast to left in the seventh inning, as the Pensacola Blue Wahoos fell to Tennessee 8-1 to close out their inaugural season in front of the 40th sellout crowd of the year on Monday afternoon at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium.
The Smokies finished the second half of the 2012 season with a 37-33 mark , while Pensacola ended their first season of Southern League play with a 34-35 record in the second half, as well s a 68-70 mark overall. The capacity crowd was the 40th hosted by the club this year in 68 home openings, while the Blue Wahoos will finish atop the Southern League in both total (328,147) and average attendance (4,825).
Tennessee plated the game's first run in the third, taking advantage of a pair of Wahoos fielding miscues. Starting pitcher Austin Kirk reached on an error, and then moved to second on a single, before heading home on the second Pensacola error of the frame to go up 1-0.
The Smokies would then score a trio of tallies in the each of the sixth and seventh frames. CF Rubi Silva drove home two with his single to right, while 3B Matt Cerda capped the sixth inning rally with a run-scoring infielder single, push Tennessee's advantage to four. After a Blue Wahoos run in the bottom of the frame, the Smokies answered back with Recker's three-run blast to left.
Pensacola got their lone run in the sixth frame. SS Billy Hamilton led off with a single and moved to second and third on walks, before coming plateward on 2B Brodie Greene's RBI single to center. Hamilton was held without a steal in the contest, which puts the new single-season steals record at 155 for Hamilton. Before the contest, Hamilton signed both bases he stole to tie and break the previous record set by Vince Coleman, while also accepting his California League Most Valuable Player Award.
Recker (2-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI) and Cerda (2-5, 1 RBI) collected two hits in the contest for Tennessee, while Greene led the Wahoos with three base knocks, in addition to multi-hit efforts from Hamilton (2-4, 1 R) and RF Josh Fellhauer (2-4, 1 2B). Fellhauer finishes the season with a .314 batting average, which puts him in contention for the Southern League batting title, pending how Mississippi OF Todd Cunningham and Montgomery INF Omar Luna fare later tonight.
Blue Wahoos starter Wirfin Obispo (4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO) suffered the loss despite yielding just one run, which was unearned on just two hits in four innings of work. Tennessee LHP Austin Kirk (5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO) earned the victory after giving up the lone earned run on just four hits in his 5.2 frames.
After finishing the year against the Smokies, Pensacola is slated to begin the 2013 campaign at Pensacola Bayfront Stadium on Thursday, April 4 against Tennessee for a five-game series. Details on season ticket holder renewal will be made available soon on the Blue Wahoos' website, while single-game tickets for the 2013 campaign will be made available sometime in early 2013. Be sure to check BlueWahoos.com throughout the offseason for the latest up-to-date information.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.